Table of Contents
Specifications and Features
Last October we reviewed the Gammix S50 Lite, which we concluded is a midrange drive in the unofficial second generation of PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives. Now we bring you the Gammix S70, which is the S50’s big brother and new flagship NVMe drive for the XPG line. In order to reach a mind-numbing 7,400 MB/s read and 6,400 MB/s write, ADATA outfitted the Gammix S70 with a newly designed NVMe controller, from a newly established company. As far as we know, the InnoGrit Rainier IG5636 controller is being used for the first time by ADATA. The controller was built on a 12nm FinFET CMOS process and uses the industry-standard PCIe Gen4 x4, NVMe 1.4. It’s a feature-packed controller that supports MLC, TLC, and QLC 4.1 NAND memory channels with support for up to 16TB.
As we’ve become accustomed to in the NVMe drive world, super-speed usually comes with super-heat output. To manage the thermal throttling and keep the drive running cool, ADATA designed an impressive heat sink for the Gammix S70. Crafted from extruded aluminum, the heat sink not only does an excellent job at keeping the drive cool but also brings some style to your motherboard. The color is light-grey anodized and features large fins to catch airflow. They even integrated a piece of aluminum on the bottom side so the whole drive is encapsulated, except for the ends.
It’s got speed and runs cool, but they didn’t forget about features such as AES 256-bit encryption and advanced LDPC ECC Technology that make it a well-rounded option from gamers to data professionals. The drive comes in both 1 TB and 2 TB options at launch. Pricing is straightforward with the 1 TB option retailing for $199.99 on Newegg and the 2 TB drive selling for 399.99. The only real initial downside is that the endurance (TBW) is relatively low. Within the first generation of Gen 4 NVMe drives, we’ve seen impressive TBD values of 1,800 TB for a 1 TB drive. However, the Gammix Gaming S70 has an endurance value of just 740 TB for the 1 TB variant. This could be a huge factor for some buyers concerned about longevity.
Features at a Glance
- R/W speed up to 7,400/6,400MB/s
- Ultra-fast PCIe Gen4x4 interface
- Exclusive heat spreader design can reduce temperatures by up to 30%
- Capacity up to 2TB
- SLC Caching and DRAM cache buffer
- Advanced LDPC ECC Technology
- E2E Data Protection and RAID Engine
- AES 256-bit encryption support
- Compact M.2 2280 form factor – ideal for gaming and high-end desktops
Full specifications are in the table below:
|Model||XPG Gammix Gaming S70|
|Capacity / Model Number||1 TB / AGAMMIXS70-1T-C|
2 TB / AGAMMIXS70-2T-C
|Heat Sink Material / Color||Extruded Aluminum / Grey|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCIe Gen4.0 x 4 with NVMe 1.3|
|Flash||96 Layer TLC|
|Controller||InnoGrit Rainier IG5236|
|DRAM Cache Buffer||1GB DDR4|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||80 x 25 x 15 mm|
|CDM Sequential Read / Write (1 TB)||Up to 7,400 / 5,500 MB/s|
|CDM 4KB Random IOPS Read / Write (1 TB)||Up to 320,000 / 720,000 IOPS|
|Operating Temperature||0°C ~ +70°C|
|Shock Resistance||1500G / 0.5ms|
|Warranty||5 Year Limited|
|Certifications||CE, FCC, BSMI, KC, Morocco, EAC|
|Endurance (TBW)||1 TB: 740TB|
2 TB: 1480TB
|Pricing||1 TB: $199.99|
2 TB: $399.99
|Product Downloads||Acronis True Image HD, disk migration utility|
When it comes to the retail packaging, they’ve given us exactly what we wanted to see for this type of product. The drive ships safely inside a full-color box that contains useful information on both the front and the back while fitting snug into a plastic shipping insert that protects it. The packaging is basic but effective and keeps the drive safe during its travels.
You won’t find any manuals or case badge stickers inside this box. They know that most people just toss that stuff in the garbage so they’ve saved some money and made all documentation digitally available on their website, which we linked in the specifications above.
The Gammix S70 Drive
Out of the box, the first thing we notice is the bold and tall finned heat sink. In this particular case, there wasn’t any official color listed for the drive, but we’d like to point out that it’s an intriguing shade of grey. In some lighting situations, it looks like dark or gunmetal grey. However, at the right angles, it will come across as very light-grey. Even though it changes somewhat based on lighting conditions, the color is such that it should blend in with most builds and motherboards.
On a side note, they chose a black PCB for the S70. While it’s not a critical feature, or even a relevant one (because the heat sink covers most of it), we’re pleased to see they chose black. Many of the first-wave Gen 4 NVMe drives shipped with a blue PCB, which tended to be unsightly for color-themed builds.
The heatsink is composed of two individual pieces of aluminum, which was made with the extrusion process and then anodized. There are two screws that appear to hold it together, however, after a careful investigation, we’ve concluded that it’s a thermal adhesive that actually holds it all together. We attempted to disassemble the drive but abandoned the endeavor due to the high potential risk of damage.
Below are a few more pictures of the heat sink design. We appreciate that ADATA designed an effective heat sink, however, it does mean that we cannot use the integrated motherboard NVMe heat sink.
The XPG Gammix S70 purchase qualifies for free downloads of ADATA SSD Toolbox and Migration Utility. SSD Toolbox allows users to monitor and manage the drive status, wear level, and lifespan information. The Migration Utility is especially helpful for users making the move from HDD to SSD, as it’s designed for simple and quick backup and migration of the contents of entire drives, including the operating system.
We found the software quite easy to use and surprisingly feature-rich compared to competitors.
Upon the first installation of the Gammix S70 drive, we updated the firmware. We linked a firmware update in the specifications table above. In the early days of NVMe firmware updates, it wasn’t uncommon to experience bugs and failures. However, we’re pleased to report that the ADATA firmware update process was exceptionally easy and flawless.
Testing Method and Test System
We know what some of the performance specs are on paper, but how does it actually perform in synthetic benchmarks and real-world tests? To answer that we’re going to put the drive through a gamut of benchmark programs to evaluate the relative performance. In between each major benchmark phase, the drive will be sanitized from the motherboard bios and formatted to NTFS with default settings under Windows 10 V1909.
Below are the tests we run with a brief description.
- Crystal Disk Mark v 7.0.0 x64 – Run at Default Settings (5 Passes)
- AS SSD v 2.0.7316 – Run at Default Settings
- ATTO v 3.05 – Run at Default Settings except for the QD Set to 10
- Thermal Testing – 5 passes back-to-back of Crystal Disk Mark to saturate the drive heat sink
- DiskBench v22.214.171.124 – Use predefined 120 GB transfer file
- Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Benchmark – Run at Default Settings
- Anvil Storage Utility Benchmark v 1.1.0 – Default Settings
|Test System Components|
|Motherboard||ASRock X570 Taichi|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3900X|
|CPU Cooler||Corsair H115i RGB PRO XT|
|Memory||T-Force XTREEM ARGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) 3600 CL14-15-15|
|SSD||T-Force Cardea Liquid NVMe 1 TB (OS)|
|Power Supply||EVGA Supernova 1600 T2 80+ Titanium|
|Video Card||EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Kingpin Edition|
All tests will be performed with the Gammix S70 installed in the top M.2 slot to utilize the direct CPU interface. There’s one special consideration that we’d like to bring to your attention. Because this drive utilizes a heatsink on the underside, it may interfere with some motherboard heat sinks or support apparatuses. We’ve seen some motherboards that have an integrated bottom heat sink, so in those cases, it will be an interference. In our case there was a small rubber bumper that is there to prevent NVMe PCB flex, we needed to remove it to make the Gammix S70 fit.
First and foremost, we want to confirm that this drive performs according to the reported speeds. Recall that the rated speed is up to 7,400 read and 5,500 write (MB/s). We are happy to report that not only did the S70 meet the specified speeds, but it surpassed them.
It’s one thing to see the speed rating on paper, but seeing the comparison to other drives is eye-opening. The S70 ended up being 39% faster than the Silicon Power US70 for the SEQ1M-Q8T1 read test. However, for the rest of the CDM read tests, it falls in line with the rest of the pack, which is a disappointment.
The AS SSD tests reiterate our CDM tests. The sequential read and write tests are truly impressive. however, the random read and write tests are similar to our other test drives. We found it interesting that the S70 appears to be optimized for super-high sequential performance but fell below the Gen 4 bar when it comes to other tests.
The ATTO read and write speeds are in line with the competition from 1K to 64K, however, starting with the 256K test the performance really takes off and we are greeted with a super-fast result. Both the read and write tests are substantially higher than our first wave Gen 4 drive, the Silicon Power US70. At the upper end of the test, we measured a performance increased of 28% to 31% compared to the Silicon Power US70, an astonishing result.
In an effort to be as thorough as possible we will use a K-Type thermal probe and a Fluke F51-II digital thermometer for temperature readings. Because the finned heat sink is so large, we didn’t take the measurement from the top, rather, the thermal probe was tucked inside one of the chambers so it was closer to the actual controller.
There was no thermal throttling observed and the load temperatures were among the coolest we’ve seen. For a drive that’s as fast as the S70 is, we are simply shocked that the temperature is so low. It’s worth noting that the maximum temperature seen within the ADATA SSD Toolbox software was 72°C, which mirrored nicely with our physical measurement process.
Performance benchmarks are great, and they give us a good understanding of drive speeds, but they don’t give us much of an insight into daily usage. DiskBench allows us to specify a file and it will transfer from one directory to another while keeping a record of speed and time.
We used a 120 GB file composed of random data and specified that it be moved from drive to drive. The resulting transfer time was a mere 70 seconds, an impressive display of raw speed.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Game Load Test
Square Enix added scene loading metrics to the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers benchmark. The program renders simulated 3D game scenes and evaluates the overall system performance. One of the aspects of the benchmark is that it records the time it takes to load each scene. If the game is launched from the SSD drive in question, then it gives us an indication of how game performance (load time) can be affected by hard drive speed.
In our game loading test, the S70 ended up being the fastest drive we’ve tested. However, the difference in drives comes down to a fraction of a second so it may not be justification to rush out and buy this drive for a gaming build.
Anvil Storage Utility
Anvil’s storage utility can monitor and test read and write speeds on hard drives and also produces an output performance score for comparison. It’s a great utility that also provides further information such as partition and volume information.
Once again, Anvil’s storage utility proves its worth and gives us a realistic picture of the overall performance. In Crystal Disk Mark, for instance, we’ve seen impressive sequential read and write speeds and also low random ones. The Anvil’s total score takes everything into account and shows that the S70 is certainly the fastest we’ve seen, but not by much. Looking at the total score, the mighty Gammix S70 comes in at just 2% faster than the Silicon Power US70.
The XPG Gammix Gaming S70 will make you take a second look, and that’s before you even see the performance numbers. It’s a sleek and sexy drive that definitely makes a statement with a 15 mm tall finned aluminum heat sink. From a thermal performance standpoint, we really appreciate that they addressed the underside of the drive and designed a heat sink that encapsulates the entire module. Our thermal testing proved that it’s not just there for looks but the heat sink actually prevented thermal throttling and kept the drive running cooler than most we’ve seen.
When comes to performance the S70 is nothing less than impressive. The Sequential read and write scores are the fastest we’ve ever tested. It takes the crown as the fastest drive on the market with the mind-boggling 7,400 MB/s sequential read performance. Furthermore, in our real-world testing, it came out on top as well as the fastest we’ve seen. However, it’s not a story of total domination for the S70, some of the random read and write tests were much lower than we would have expected and on par with the first-generation NVMe 4.0 drives.
So the S70 seems to have it all, but will you have to pay inflated premium prices to have the fastest NVMe on the market? As we mentioned at the beginning of the review, you can get this 1 TB drive for $199.99 on Newegg, or 20 cents per gigabyte. High-end Gen 3 drives, like the ones we compared today, range from about 10-16 cents per gigabyte. Many of the first wave Gen 4 drives are still selling between 16-22 cents per gigabyte. It’s simply shocking to us that the XPG Gammix S70 is priced in the same price bracket as the very first Gen 4 drives that launched back in July 2019, but it is. If you can get over the relatively low TBW value, then the S70 should be at the very top of your list when looking to purchase a new NVMe drive!
David Miller – mllrkllr88